Monday, February 25, 2013
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Inexpensive ways to reduce your energy bill
You could get upgraded insulation installed in all the walls of your home, or
buy a new high-efficiency furnace and air conditioner. These improvements
would certainly reduce your energy costs – but they each require a
What if you don't have the budget?
There are a lot of little things you can do to make a big difference in your
heating or cooling bill.
Here are just a few examples:
• Turn down the thermostat a couple of degrees in winter. (And turn it
up a few notches in summer.) Chances are, you'll hardly notice the
difference in comfort, and you'll cut your heating/cooling costs by
• Do you need the air conditioner on all the time during the summer
months? Consider turning it way up, or completely off, at night when
it's cooler outside.
• Invest in a programmable thermostat. That way, you'll be able to set
up a schedule that uses less heating/cooling energy while you’re out
of the house.
• Let the sunshine in through windows in the winter (and block the sun
where possible in the summer.) "Passive heat gain" can contribute to
up to 20% of the heat in your home. Best of all, the sun is free.
• Use energy efficient lights throughout your home. These can cut the
cost of lighting by up to 40%!
• Be careful with outside lights, which can use a lot of energy! Turn
them off before you go to bed or, better still, use programmable
outside lighting that can be set to turn off automatically.
• These are just a few ideas for reducing your energy bill. If you do
some research, you can probably discover many other ways to cut
your costs. It's worth the effort!
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Thursday, May 03, 2012
Most people feel confident about the basics of home security.
Keep all doors locked. Have a light on in the house while away. Never hide a key outside in an obvious place, like under the mat.
• Yet, almost a million and a half properties get burglarized in
North America each year.
So how can you prevent that from happening to your home?
Here are a few less known home security basics:
• Actually, never hide a key outside. Thieves know all the hiding places. Instead, make sure all family members have a key.
• Two-thirds of home burglaries occur during the day. So be
extra vigilant about making sure doors and windows are
locked while you're away during the day.
• Surprisingly, most thieves are not daring. They are 2.7 times
more likely to target a home without an alarm system.
• Thieves will attempt to force entry through sliding-style doors and windows first. So make sure these have a locking bar or extra bolt lock.
• Surprising, 40% of household burglaries do not involve forced entry. The thief is able to slip in through an unlocked window or door.
• Don't show off possessions! An imported racing bike parked
next to the garage, or expensive audio equipment clearly seen
through a window, is an invitation to burglars.
• Take a look at the lighting and landscaping around your
property. Are there spots where a thief could easily hide? If so, make some changes.
• When planning a trip, have a trusted neighbour pick up
newspapers, flyers and anything else that may accumulate at
Your local police department may have more tips and special programs for keeping your home secure. Give them a call
It's a wonder sometimes what professional equipment and staging will do to the photographs of the listings I have.
The above is a shot from the back-deck of a listing in Langley City .... a very sweet 1/2 duplex. ..... it did help it was a glorious early Spring day.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
There is one certainty, however.......the answer to true value does not lie in how much the seller wants for his or her home (though that is what the seller and the listing broker want you to believe). In fact, the listing price of a home sometimes has nothing to do with its market value.
Figuring out how much a home is actually worth is a tricky process. You'll have to do your homework, pull out your calculator, and spend some time learning to recognize certain "value markers."
Once you've figured out what a property is worth relative to others that are similar in the area, you can begin to compare various homes. Where a home is located (within a city, within a neighborhood, on a particular street, within a single building) is crucial to determining its value.
When you begin to compare homes, it's important to factor location into your house valuation formula. First, think about where the house is located in relation to the entire neighborhood. Are shops and various services within walking distance? Is the house close to major forms of transportation and to the schools your children will be attending? Is it too close to any of these amenities?
There are many more factors which help to define how much a property is worth .... just drop a note if you want to know more.
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Friday, February 03, 2012
Consider what your property looks like to people driving by or walking through your door.
What will they like or dislike? What needs fixing, painting, cleaning? What can you improve?
Whether you paint your house or fix up the yard, your efforts don’t need to be costly; even inexpensive improvements and minor repairs go far toward attracting serious buyers.
But remember, those seemingly insignificant problems you’ve learned to live with can actually discourage potential buyers.
Here are ideas for increasing your home’s appeal in order to sell it quickly at the best price.
- Selling Your Home - Where Do You Begin
- Negotiating Guidelines
- Evaluating Properties
- How to Pack Like a Pro
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
By 2050, the world’s population is projected to be more than 9 billion, with roughly 70% of people residing in urban areas. With more people flocking to cities, there is an urgent demand for smarter, more sustainable cities.
A city’s infrastructure is comprised of a number of systems, including transportation (e.g. roads, bridges, public transportation, etc.), sewage, utility (e.g. gas, electricity, water treatment and delivery), and public and private buildings. Urbanization and proliferation of these systems are key to quality of life, but also create a significant toll on the sustainability, energy efficiency and capacity level of a city.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
From an American perspective but still relevant to us......
It’s not news that home construction has been on the decline for the past few years (thanks a lot, economy!), but that might not be an entirely bad thing. In many cases, it makes more sense financially to renovate an existing home rather than start from scratch, and renovation actually can be a green move. Renovations save on building materials and waste and also preserve undeveloped natural land.
If you are a homeowner, invest in energy-efficient upgrades that reduce your home’s heating and cooling loads by adding more insulation in the walls, roof, and floors; sealing up leaks or installing new windows; and upgrading old HVAC equipment with Energy Star-rated models. If your home’s layout is no longer meeting your family’s needs, get in on the trend of building an “accessory dwelling unit,” an additional small structure that serves as a mother-in-law-suite, studio, office or extra storage space.
When the opportunity does present itself to build anew, most of us will be building smaller in 2012. Less square footage means less cost for materials and labor, as well as less energy to heat and cool the finished spaces. It’s a win–win and – we promise! – a smaller home doesn’t have to mean a cramped home. Really think about the way you live: do you need that giant master bedroom suite in which you never spend time? Isn’t a combo family room/kitchen/dining area a lot cozier and more functional than separate, more formal spaces?
According to a survey of builders conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), new homes will average 2,152 sq. ft. in size by 2015, compared with a peak of 2,521 sq. ft. in 2007. That is still more than enough space for most of us!
For those overachievers out there, just saving energy is not enough. Why not go all the way and make your home net-zero? A net-zero home generates as much energy as it consumes, netting out at, well, zero energy. Most net-zero homes achieve this designation by combining a variety of passive and active design strategies. Passive strategies include thoughtfully placed windows that utilize or prevent solar heat gains, plenty of natural ventilation, and well insulated walls. These tactics reduce energy use, but when it comes to producing energy, it’s necessary to install some sort of renewable energy system such as solar panels, geothermal wells, or even wind turbines.
Net-zero water is another term you’ll probably hear more in 2012. Not only should you replace outdated plumbing fixtures with newer, more efficient versions (and install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators), but consider a gray-water reuse and/or rainwater collection system. Many municipalities, especially those located in arid climates, are taxed to the max, what with dwindling water supplies.
Energy Monitoring Systems
Programmable thermostats were a genius invention, but technology now allows us to monitor our energy use more comprehensively and in real time. These new gadgets tie into your home’s circuit and allow you to examine the data on a screen or even from the convenience of your laptop or smartphone. The premise is that the more aware you are of your energy consumption, the more ways you can find to cut back. It’s like challenging yourself to a fun game! The prize? Lower electric bills and, of course, the peace of mind that you are doing your part to help the environment. Popular models include The Energy Detective (TED), GE Nucleus, and the eMonitor by Powerhouse Dynamics. More models are becoming available all the time, so expect prices to drop in the coming year.
By now you’ve accepted that incandescent bulbs, despite their warm glow, aren’t very energy-efficient. Compact fluorescents (CFLs) have been touted as the best replacement. However, LEDs use even less energy than CFLs and have much longer lifetimes. Although LEDs were previously dismissed for residential use because of their many drawbacks – cool color temperatures, low lighting output and high price – they’ve come a long way in recent years. That $20 bulb now costs closer to $15, and you can expect prices to continue to drop. We probably won’t be lighting our entire homes with LEDs by the end of 2012, but we can start incorporating them and watch our bills drop accordingly.
Watch for these green trends to continue throughout 2012 and beyond and keep your eyes open for trends that no one has spotted yet!
Thanks to www.buildipedia.com for the above article.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
No matter when a home goes on the market, one should take a few things under consideration that will likely affect not just the ability to sell a property, but more importantly the ability to get your asking price. Timing, it seems, is everything.
While the economy does not follow the predictable ebb and flow of the seasonal changes in real estate and in buyer attention, the economy, it’s state and it’s prospects boil down to property values, and consumer confidence. When the economy is under fire, people are nervous about their jobs. There is generally a reluctance to spend, accumulate debt or make major purchases.
The market will tell you what a home is worth. The problem is, during an economic downturn, the market may value your home lower than you had hoped, or than from when you started.
In a country like Canada, where there are four distinct seasons, seasonal influences play a large part in creating good selling conditions.
Wintertime brings with it a series of challenges, among them the weather, holiday distractions and lack of interest from buyers.
When the snow thaws though, and greenery re-emerges from the ground, buyers tend to re-emerge as well. The spring tends to be the peak of the market, simply because the timing suits people in general. The weather is more favourable, properties generally can be better displayed, and moves and property closings can more reasonably be managed through the summer months, so for those with families relocating is less disruptive.
According to data, home sales begin in February, with closings peaking through late May, June, July and August- and this has been a consistent trend since the early 2000’s. For sellers then, will likely have the opportunity to engage more traffic and interest in their homes.
Patience is a Virtue
While the springtime may typically be a more optimal time to sell, there will typically be more competition on the market. Sometimes, it may be advisable to wait until the spring market to list, simply because of the flood of buyers onto the market. Often, a property will sell for more, and sell much faster because of volume.
As well, think staging before selling....... I work with great Home Stagers. Drop me a note if you want to talk to one of the designers to see if they are a fit for you.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Mistake #1 -- Placing the Wrong Price on Your Property
Mistake #2 -- Mistaking Re-finance Appraisals for the Market Value
Mistake #3 -- Failing to "Showcase"
Mistake #4 - Trying to "Hard Sell" While Showing
Mistake #5 - Trying to Sell to Lookers
Your realtor should be able to distinguish realistic potential buyers from mere lookers. Realtors should usually find out a prospective buyer's savings, credit rating, and purchasing power in general. This will help you avoid wasting valuable time marketing towards the wrong people. If you have to do this work yourself, consider finding a new realtor.
Mistake #6 -- Being Ignorant of Your Rights & Responsibilities
Mistake #7 - Limiting the Marketing and Advertising of the Property
Your realtor should employ a wide variety of marketing techniques, including an extensive on-line marketing plan.
Your realtor should also be committed to selling your property; he or she should be available for every phone call from a prospective buyer. Or have coverage if they are out of town. Most calls are received, during business hours, so make sure that your realtor is working on selling your home during these hours.
Chances are that you have a job too, so hire a full time Realtor who is able to commit 100% to selling your property, not a part-timer.
Mistake #8 - Choosing the Wrong Realtor®
Take your time when selecting a real estate agent. Interview several agents; ask for a referral from your friends, family and business contacts....... If you want to make your selling experience the best it can be, it is crucial that you select the best agent for you.
Remember, Knowledge is Power.